Center for Respect of Life and Environment (CRLE)
Programs & Services
Get Involved
Center for Respect of Life and Environment (CRLE)
Programs & Services


Towards A New Production Ethic

Get Involved

Included on this page:
- Local coordinators
- Fund raisers
- Facilitators
- Curriculum developers
- Conference attendees

Local Coordinators
The Soul of Agriculture's task to bring to public and personal attention everywhere a profound awareness of the values of family-managed farming requires that the work be done everywhere. Local coordinators of this work, well placed in local or regional organizations and networks, are the first most obvious need for the project. A brief look at the long and short term goals of Soul shows why:

I. Long-Term Goal:

A. A broadly representative consensus on the values, ethics, and vibrant future of family- managed farming, both geographically and between farming constituencies. The breadth must be enough so that it will be an incentive for even more farmers, farm groups and constituencies to look at the evolving consensus statement and choose to sign on or not or to seek changes. That is, the growing consensus weight will be such that little more persuasion of the importance of joining the consensus will be needed than just the weight itself of the consensus and its content once understood.

B. Several attractive examples of successful curricular utilization of the consensus for K-12 classrooms and even college level.

II. Short-Term Goal:

A. To find local (regional) coordinator/facilitators and institutions/organizations willing to provide them a base of operations and a network to start farmer and farmer/constituency conversations and deliberations in sufficiently large numbers and diverse regions so that progress toward the long-term goal is measurable.

B. To find funds to support the work of these coordinators, train them (if need be), and develop some more models of successful daylong or two-day retreat formats for consensus building work.

C. To find funds for the additional curriculum building work.

1. A strong belief in the importance of the Soul project.
2. A base to work from, i.e., some community, farming, sustainable agriculture, environmental, farm animal welfare, farm labor, rural school, church or civic organization with a good farming or other grassroots networking ability.
3. Ability, with adequate financial support from any source (including Soul of Agriculture) to devote some regular time, up to 20%, to bringing farming constituencies together to do consensus formation work.

Fund Raisers
Soul of Agriculture is a project that does not belong to any one organization as a project. Those who recognized that a public and explicitly stated consensus on the values of family farming did not exist also realized that when what is so deeply in the hearts and minds of many is made explicit, it will have to belong to them. Those who frame the public consensus must own it, and the best, possibly the only, way to assure that sense of ownership is that the groups involved in framing the consensus will also own the process.

Hence it is to be encouraged that you who help in the process will own what you are doing. We will offer what help we can in terms of literature, supplies, perhaps eventually training of facilitators and other staff, models of consensus formation activities and even funds when we obtain them. Above all we can offer you the credibility of the impressive list of advisers and supporters of Soul. We will collect the results of your consensus work and make it public for comment and enrichment and in general act as a clearinghouse for thoughts, plans, success stories and lessons learned.

To raise your own funds and to seek volunteers, spaces for meeting and so forth is encouraged. We could also use help on fund raising for literature, communication, central coordination, and other elements noted above. We will try to keep Soul's central needs to a minimum based on what you need.

1. Grant writing ability. We can supply information about our 501 (c)(3) status if you do not have your own and some generic models of Soul grant applications.
2. Connections and local credibility with fund sources, especially local funders.
3. Ability to beg shamelessly and cheerfully for a good cause you believe in.

There is a special skill in being able to lead a group in dialogue leading to consensus. Since Soul can collect individual variations and perspectives for a long time and perhaps permanently as appendicies and addenda, no facilitator will have to be heavy-handed. But most of those meeting for a Soul activity will be very committed and hence likely very busy people. For them wasted time may be a real killer.

1. Experience
2. Knowledge of the Soul goals and literature
3. Willingness to accept training if needed.

Curriculum Developers
Garrison Keillor's humorous accounts of Norwegian bachelor-farmers become bittersweet when one hears stories about farm women telling their daughters not to marry farmers. Farm life is today often so stressful that it is difficult for farm families themselves to teach their own children convincingly why what they are doing is of great value. This is particularly true when young people are exposed, often in school, to slick presentations expensively prepared by advocates of highly industrialized models of agriculture. Around the country, rural groups are aware that children, both from farms and urban areas, need a real picture of farming and realistic ideals for its future. We need persons skilled in K-12 curriculum development to use Soul materials, both existing and to be created, to provide portions of the intellectual and imaginative content of "family farming in America" curricula.

Conference Attendees
One of the principal ways to generate support and action on the Soul project is simply to expose it to groups already committed to some aspect of family farming. Many of you attend such meetings. We are prepared to assist you in bringing the Soul of Agriculture project to the attention of your conference colleagues by providing you with a package of material to distribute. If you or your organization is so short of funds that a nearby conference's registration fee or travel cost is out of reach we may be able to help you. We will also provide return "Show of Interest" postcards for you to lay out on a table with Soul literature. You can download material from this web site. We can send you by Federal Express a handsome tabletop display for the price of round-trip postage.

In addition we need persons with media contacts, persons trained in applied ethics, members of religious and civic organizations with an interest in rural values, ability to interview, write press releases, make videos, etcetera.

CRLE | [email protected]